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‘Amazing experience for us’: Edmonton Oilers fans visit from Germany for 1st NHL games

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You’d expect to see cheering fans in Rogers Place when the Edmonton Oilers are in town, but there’s a group that travelled from the other side of the world to be a part of the current homestand.

There are currently 27 Oilers fans from Germany in Edmonton. They’re all part of a Facebook group that celebrates all things Oilers in Germany.

“Amazing experience for us so far,” group member Bjoern Vogt said from Rogers Place, while watching morning skate on Monday.

Vogt said he became an Oilers fan when the organization hired former head coach Ralph Krueger in 2012 and has been following the team ever since.

But being an Oilers fan in Germany is no piece of cake. Because of the time difference, Vogt and his friends lose hours of sleep in an effort to watch all the teams’ games live.

“We do need to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning for the home games. That’s OK because after that you can go to work,” he said. “But the away games, east coast trips, start at 1 o’clock in the morning and that’s really hard.

But Vogt said there’s usually between 50 and 70 people watching those middle-of-the-night games and chatting in their Facebook group. He says there is a thread created for each game and by the end of play, there will be hundreds of comments from everyone watching.

“It’s amazing. It’s crazy.”

The Oilers are currently within striking distance of a division title. That excites fans both here and abroad.

“It’s really amazing to be in a playoff rush and have meaningful games in March,” Vogt said. “The Edmontonians do know the decade of darkness and so on, so we are excited as well because our group started during the last playoff season three seasons ago and we want to have that again.”

As for Draisaitl’s popularity in Germany? Hockey isn’t a very popular sport there, but Vogt said the local media is starting to follow the Oilers’ centre and talk about his stats and achievements…sometimes to the chagrin of the Oilers super fans.

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